Every guitar player is immediately familiar with this image: The rock star on stage ,with a Flying V, huge hair and a WALL of amps. That’s what most guitars players aim for -- a huge wall of huge, loud amps. What they come to learn, though, is that volume isn’t everything and lugging a 75lb amp around town gets old quick. That’s why an unexpected niche that has been moving to the forefront: The mini amp. Whether it’s tube or solid state, mini amps have been making serious headway as practice, studio and small live amps. Here’s a quick list of what you can expect to see when you break into Mini Amps.

  • Orange Micro Terror and Micro Dark

    • So small it’s almost comical, the Orange Micro Terror series is just that: a tiny version of the iconic Orange Tube amp. The amp is about the size of most bluetooth speakers and costs about as much as a good guitar pedal. There’s a 12AX7 preamp tube that gives you real Orange tone and 20w of output power is nothing to laugh at when your amp can fit in your gig bag. The original Micro Terror is perfect for any rock player while the Micro Dark Terror is perfect for heavier metal tones. Both amps provide you with a gain knob, Tone Cut Control, master volume and a headphone out. Both have a single 8 ohm output to use with a speaker cab and the Micro Dark even has an effects loop to drive your pedals! You pair them with the Orange PPC-108 cabinet to have a mini stack, but I’ve personally drive cabs as big as 4x10” with one (Your mileage may vary with cabs that big, however).

  • Blackstar HT-1 Metal

    • If you want something with a little more punch, there’s the Blackstar HT-1 Metal head. A 1w all tube head, the HT-1 Metal provides serious gain without the noise violations. Built like a tank, you get a 16 ohm minimum output for speakers, an emulated line output and stereo reverb. This 2 channel amp is designed more for studio and practice use than any gigging, but it sounds monstrous in either setting.  It makes a great companion to any desktop recording set-up or guitar player on the go.

  • Marshall MG15CFXMS

    • The biggest of the mini amps on this list, the MG15 Mini Stack is a 15w solid state full stack with a bevy of effects. With four storable channels, five effects and two reverbs, this amp gives you a lot of bang for your buck. The all analog Marshall amp circuitry is no joke and this thing can rip with the best of them.  Not only do you get serious tone, but you get two 1x10” Marshall cabinets that provide excellent tonal clarity and a classic, full stack look. Add in a Marshall MG foot control, and you have a full-stack rig for less than the cost of most combo amps!

Mini amps might not seem like a viable choice of amp, but they’re quickly becoming a great option when you’re looking for real options at a low price (and your back will thank you too.) Come down to the Guitar Factory and try these pint-sized powerhouses today!    - Jeremy Lewis